The Hard-Rocking "Queens" Of Botswana's Heavy-Metal Scene

Photo: Paul Shiakallis.
These aren't your typical heavy-metal fans.

You might think of men with long hair and bandanas, headbanging to Metallica. But for the "Queens of Marok," a metal subculture in the southern African nation of Botswana, rocking out in leather jackets and studded pants is about more than their taste in music.

These women, who often go by alter egos, create "double lives" as rockers, according to photographer Paul Shiakallis.

Shiakallis has spent years documenting the female fans who often show off their heavy-metal alter egos and outfits only after dark. Many come from traditional families. Listening to heavy metal — and dressing in the genre's signature style — is a way of pushing back.

"The mindset is still very patriarchal," Shiakallis told Refinery29. "It's much harder to become a rocker as a female than it is as a male in Botswana."

Shiakallis, who lives in South Africa, explores the subculture in his project Leathered Skins, Unchained Hearts.

Boundary-pushing "Queens" of rock: We salute you.

More from Global News

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.